«Aggregated Summary of Reports Provided by ABA-PTL and ACTEC-Prac List serves 2015 Heckerling Estate Planning INSTITUTE Edited, Aggregation of On-Site ...»
10:50 - 12:00 Our Return to What Really Matters in Estate Planning “... and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Christopher P. Cline Our journey through the legislative underbrush of the last ten years has taught us lessons about what really matters most to clients. The wide variety of topics covered at this Institute are joined through the perennial questions they raise: how can I keep (or maybe give) control of my wealth; how do I use my wealth for my and my heirs’ happiness (or at least productivity); how best can I leave a financial legacy; and how can I (as an advisor) provide the insights my clients demand in the face of all this complexity? This wrap-up program examines those perennial questions and tries to link the outstanding presentations made this week through the answers they provide.
Reporter: Kimon Karas Esq.
The presentation was divided into two parts by summarizing the week’s topics and then discussing some of the issues identified by the presenter. I will address the comments in two areas starting with a summation of the week’s topics and then the presenter’s materials.
Chris suggested that we are at a turning point in the industry. He summarized the theme of the week’s presentations as follows.
1. Estate planning at all levels is more difficult. Starting with basis, passive loss rules. There is a great intersection between transfer taxes and income taxes where income taxes are front and center. As I am editing this report preliminary reports are being made public regarding the President’s upcoming State of the Union speech where he intends to announce increasing the rate to 28% on dividends and capital gains as well as severely limiting basis step-up. We now have portability and how does one plan with that starting with second marriages. Current plans/trusts that are in place. Have current laws fundamentally altered the basis/reasoning for the plans in place;
can they be modified, terminated, to account for current laws.
2. How do we as estate planners define ourselves; what is the market and who are the clients, especially in a world of $10.8M in exemption between married spouses.
3. Communication is ever important.
4. Dealing with ever changing landscape, i.e. digital assets, the new biology, same sex couples.
5. Importance of trust drafting. Big question whether incentive trusts work. Many people feel they do not. Chris suggested that planners need to seriously consider income only trusts with HEMS standards. Other than a tax concept, what distinguishes maintenance from support. Does that really provide trustee with guidance. As to income only trust, Chris suggests consider identifying a specific dollar amount adjusted for inflation, or income, whichever is greater. He suggests the use of HEMS standards is tied to Section 2041 issues rather than what is best for the beneficiaries. Possibly adding language that identifies priorities with standards. Is health or education more important-identify a hierarchy. Define the terms. Use precatory language. Is the trust to benefit income or remainder beneficiaries. Is one class to be preferred over another class of beneficiaries. Suggests adding purpose language to assist trustee in administering the trust. If a trust is to provide greater control its purpose must be clearly spelled out. What is the purpose of the trust: i) protecting the beneficiary from himself (minor or disabled person); ii) protecting the beneficiary from others (creditors); iii) protecting the beneficiaries from each other (family of second marriage with 2nd spouse and children from 1st marriage) iv) protecting the beneficiary from the IRS (protecting inherited wealth from future transfer taxation upon distribution to or death of beneficiary). Avoid pot trusts. Is a trust protector, trust advisor, needed.
6. Philanthropy is still relevant.
7. Being a fiduciary is a difficult job. A trustee cannot simply ignore trust administration simply by relying on an exoneration clause.
8. Sophisticated tax techniques continue to be relevant in the correct client situation.
9. Powers of appointment continue to have relevancy. Be cautious of indiscriminate use of general powers of appointment focusing on income tax basis to the exclusion of considering creditor issues. Does one solve one problem and open up another unintended issue.
10. IRS compliance issues continue to be relevant.
11. Post 2012 tax changes all estate plans need to be revisited and most likely redrafted. Plan fixing business.
Chris in discussing the themes of the Institute also interrelated some of his thoughts on what matters in estate planning.
In discussing what is estate planning today Chris initial comments related to motivation to engage in planning. What motivates people to do estate planning. Clients say they want their beneficiaries to be ‘happy,’ what is happiness. Money does not in itself make people happy. One author identified factors of happiness ranging from family relationships, work, community and friends, health, none of which in the hierarchy related to money. On the other hand age does not appear a significant factor. There is good evidence that if a person has not become the person one strives to be by age 40, one never will. Not to say one cannot evolve; rather by age 40 most of one’s personality traits are in place and most likely will not change.
In estate planning control is a central theme. A person does not become successful/wealthy by allowing others to take charge. Control may be contradictory. When talking about estate or financial planning clients may be more successful by giving control away. Secrecy is not effective. Many clients as well as advisors believe that withholding information assists their heirs. The idea being that knowledge by itself will spoil the heirs. This is misguided for reasons such as: i) children are smart and can figure out the family has means; ii) even those children who are kept in the ‘dark’ are still spoiled; iii) knowledge if used property can assist the heirs to develop by directing them to ask the ‘correct’ questions and giving them the proper tools to assimilate and handle the information. Communication is paramount. That cuts across all lines with basic estate planning to the more complex involving businesses and other unique assets. Although clients in general strive for family fairness, depending upon one’s asset mix it may not be possible to treat all heirs fairly. If that is not possible then communication can head off future problems, issues, litigation if that is addressed in advance and the heirs know what to expect.
The Institute concluded with Tina officially closing the 49 Institute by announcing a record attendance of 3010 attendees.
TECH TIDBITSLackner software held s luncheon program today (Tuesday, January 13th) called "2015 Game Changer." Due to an e-mailing snafu notice of this program was delayed going out until yesterday afternoon. If you were unable to attend, Vince Lackner tells us that they recorded the presentation. Order information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charitableplanning.com provides several online services for planners, including an extensive library, daily digests with industry developments, industry-specific calculators, and an easy to understand charitable planning handbook.
A la carte and comprehensive yearly subscriptions are available. Learn more at http://www.charitableplanning.comwww.charitableplanning.com or visit them at booth 325 to learn about their 7-day free trial and to receive a code for a 20% discount available only during Heckerling.
ElderCounsel specializes in helping practitioners solve the Elder Law piece of the estate planning puzzle. It provides state-specific long-term care, Medicaid, VA benefit, and special needs planning resources, monthly update meetings, and online educational opportunities. Heckerling attendees can receive a discount, but only through the end of the conference. Stop by booths 128-130 for more information or contact John Shickich at email@example.com.
Don Kelley's latest monthly technology article for Wealth Management was released on January 13, 2015. It is entitled "Recent Developments in Tech Resources for the Trusts & Estates Practice, Part 1" and concentrates on developments in software and Internet resources for estate planners in 2014. it can be downloaded and printed out for free from Wealth Management at http://wealthmanagement.com/technology.
Thomson Reuters on January 13, 2015 announced its new Checkpoint IRS Response Library. It is described as the comprehensive tool you need to efficiently respond to your clients' IRS notices, project billing hours, and increase client satisfaction and retention. They say you can quickly find your client' notices in the comprehensive IRS Notice database that is searchable by Notice or form number, issue or key word, research the issue with links to relevant IRS Publications, Notices and primary law, follow a step-by-step Workplan to resolve the issues, respond to your client and the IRS with sample scripts and documents created by former IRS employees, and project billable hours by reviewing the complexity rating for each issue and the estimated hours is will take to resolve. The single user price is normally $329 per year put for a limited time it is only $247. For more information, go to http://store.tax.thomsonreuters.com/accounting/c/Checkpoint-IRS-ResponseLibrary/p/100267003?cm_mmc=Eloqua-_-Email-_-LM_IRLQ115-_utm_campaign=IRLQ115&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua&elq=8d87c32825ea4b9fa14592fe15f42 350&elqCampaignId=4704 ESI-Appraise at Heckerling Booth #414 issues a monthly newsletter. The newsletter for the Heckerling week describes their new ESI-Direct service as a modern solution to an old problem of how do you get date of death, alternate date, & market values into your estate tax or fiduciary accountings? They say that the original solutions, which most practitioners still use and were designed in the 1980s, are terribly out of date and that now there is a better choice - ESI-Direct, which is a collaboration of Thomson Reuters ONESOURCE Trust & Estate administration and ESI-APPRAISE (Evaluation Services Inc. Together they say they have created a solution which is fast, economical, scalable and easy to use and they call it ESI-DIRECT. For more information see http://www.evaluationservice.net or https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/products/brands/onesource.
Estate Valuations & Pricing Systems, Inc. (EVP Systems), is the provider of the suite of products including the popular EstateVal. They launched a new product, GiftVal, in Q4 2014. GiftVal is included in EVP Office version
8. GiftVal provides gift valuations for use with the Form 709, including mean pricing with accrued interest. As always, the software suite is free to download at www.evpsys.com, and users only pay for the valuations as the programs are used. Meet Christina Ramirez, VP Business Development & Client Relations at booth #328 to discuss EstateVal, GiftVal, Cost Basis and CapWatch.
PG Calc, one of the providers of charitable calculation software, has just announced its 2014 monthly webinar series so you can keep on top of planned giving trends and developments. Topics include Gifts of Retirement Assets, Adventures in Accepting Restricted Gifts and Planned Giving for Younger Donors. The cost is $95 per session or $855 for the whole series. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.pgcalc.com.
*Gillett Publishing LLC/GEMS – Gillett Estate Management Suite. GEMS provides 706 and 709 return preparation and trust accounting software. Over the past year, GEM709 has been updated to include full support for all of the GST elections, including the ability to change the language for each of the elections. It also tracks hanging Crummey powers from year to year, calculating the amount lapsing each year and the amount remaining. GEMAcct now includes the ability to maintain lots for stocks and bonds. Shares to be sold can be automatically selected by designating LIFO, FIFO, high basis or low basis. GEM706 now offers support for Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. During Heckerling, Gillett Publishing is offering a 25% discount on new licenses. Contact them at booth #322 or email@example.com.
Trusts and Estates magazine has just issued their January 2015 issue. Included with that issue are two removable inserts, one called "Tax Year in Review 2014" and one called "Special Section: Valuations. Those two inserts are alone well worth a subscription to this monthly magazine, which now comes in print and digital.
The American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law at Booth #316 was offering substantive handouts, including the “Trustee Net Investment Income Tax ‘Crib Sheets’” mentioned in John Bergner’s Tuesday afternoon presentation. Additionally, they featured a number of publications, including the new “Handbook of Practical Planning for Art Collectors and Their Advisors,” by Ramsay H. Slugg. A code for a 20% discount on this book, as well as information regarding a free trial membership to the ABA, was available at their booth. More information can be obtained at "ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law" firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ashar Group, life settlement specialists, has a new plug-in app for mobile devices. They claim to be the first in the industry to offer this kind of app to allow advisors to do low level valuations in the field. For more information, go to http://www.ashargroup.com.
ABA Law Practice Today e-mail edition out 1/15/15 features articles on "Lawyers Who Connect Win the Talent Game," "Trust Accounts," and "iPad for Litigators." For more information go to http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_practice.html.
Trust & Estates magazine publishes a digital e-mail newsletter that contained many useful articles. The one issued on January 7th has an article in it entitled "Planning Trust Administration to Avoid Conflict" in which the authors offer insights and best practices for individual trustees. There is another article on "Optimizing IRAs and Retirement Plan Distributions" and still another one on "The Evolving Landscape of State Income Taxation of Trusts."` Contact Wealth Mangement at www.WealthManagement.com for more information.
The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held in Las Vegas, Nevada the week prior to the start of Heckerling
2015. On January 6th Law Technology News in its Afternoon Update reported among its top stories taking new directions in 3D printing, Sony ZX2 Walkman, what 5G wireless tech will look like, Reversible USB - it's here and it's great, the smartphones of CES 2015, the OLED next generation best TV ever, and the ArcSoft Simplicam with its improved facial-recognition software update. For more information go to http://www.cnet.com.
In December of 2014 ZDNet.com published a report by Ed Bott entitled "Did the browser wars finally end in 2014?" Ed reports that his review of what's new for Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera says yes. This one is well worth the read. Go to http://www.zdnet.com.
Prof. Gerry W. Beyer of the Texas Tech University School of Law maintains a trusts and estates blog on the Feedblitz network out of Massachusetts that is called "Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog." This blog sends out one message per day highlighting some 6 to 10 items of interest that arelinked directly to the source information for each blog item. This blog is an excellent way to keep up with what is going on in the T&E field and it is free. For more information, go to http://www.feedblitz.com/f/f.fbz?Sub=8995 ================================================================== Our on-site local reporters who are present in Orlando in 2015 are Joanne Hindel Esq., a Vice President with Fifth Third Bank in Cleveland, Ohio; Kimon Karas Esq., an attorney with McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal and Liffman Co. LPA in Cleveland, Ohio; Craig Dreyer Esq., an attorney with Clark Skatoff, PA in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Michael Sneeringer Esq., an attorney with Nelson & Nelson, PA in North Miami Beach, Florida, Michelle R. Mieras, a Fiduciary Review Officer and Vice President with Bank of the West in Denver, Colorado, Carol A. Sobczak Esq., an attorney with Marshall & Melhorn in Toledo, Ohio, Beth Anderson Esq., an attorney with Wyatt, Tarrant & Dombs, LLP in Louisville, Kentucky, Tiffany Walker Esq., an attorney with S. D. Merritt & Associates, PC in Boulder, Colorado, and Bruce A. Tannahill Esq., a Director of Estate and Business Planning with MassMutual Financil Group in Phoenix, Arizona.
The editor again in 2015 will be Joseph G. Hodges Jr. Esq., a solo practitioner in Denver, Colorado. He is also the Chief Moderator of the ABA-PTL discussion list.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT INSTITUTE:
Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning University of Miami School of Law P.O. Box 248087 Coral Gables, FL 33124Telephone: 305-284-4762 / FAX: 305-284-6752 Web site:
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